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Salted hot chocolate

February 17, 2010

A great hot chocolate should be sweet but not too sweet. When you are half way through the steamy cup you should not feel an overwhelming cloying sweetness building. You want a deep, rich, cocoa flavor that makes you want to chew the hot chocolate. You want a rich mouthfeel that makes you feel like you are cuddled up next to a fireplace with the one you love.

My son and I were experimenting in the kitchen the other morning and created the perfect hot chocolate. 6 oz. of 2% milk, 2 oz. of heavy cream, 2 heaping TB of unsweetened high quality cocoa powder, 1/4 C. Torani French Vanilla syrup (you could use sugar and vanilla extract as well) and a pinch of salt. Yes, salt. It is no surprise that salted caramel and chocolates have become so popular. The salt acts as the perfect balance to the sweetness and creates an ongoing palate cleansing sensation. It actually extracts more of the cocoa flavor. Using the unsweetened ,high quality cocoa gives you the most pure, intense deep chocolate flavor. The vanilla syrup then balances the unsweetened cocoa without taking away from the cocoa flavor. Whisk everything together over medium heat until it just starts to steam.

Pour into a mug. Blow gently and smell the  back draft of chocolate pleasure as it wafts up from the mug. After one sip you will know what I am talking about! The first sensation is pure chocolate. You the sweet vanilla creeps up once the cocoa has saturated your tongue. Then the salt comes in and ignites the chocolate flavor once again giving you a spike of cocoa before wiping your palate clean to prepare for the next sip. The 2 oz of heavy cream is just enough to make the hot chocolate decadent without leaving you feeling heavy. It is drinks like this that makes me wish I was somewhere covered in snow. Enjoy!

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy

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